Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vicarious Bragging

Hello Everyone! I know it's been a long time since I posted here. I claim stress, insanity, and laziness as my excuses. :-) Be that as it may i know that they are horrible excuses and I am trying to correct them all and get some writing done here now and again.

I had to write today and brag for my friend. She's an amateur writer who has been going through a heck of a hard time lately, so much so that she's commented a few times questioning her ability as a writer.

Folks we all face it. Someone we care about says we don't have it in us or some editor tells us that our story didn't fit and we think its because we suck. Whatever it is we all face discouragement. There's only two ways to deal with it. Either accept it all as the black hole you think it is and give up, or say to heck with the naysayers and soldier on making your writing as awesome as it can be.

I'm proud of my friend. She took the second route. I hope my friendship has helped her in doing that but whether it did or not she pressed on, and guess what? She just got accepted to a magazine that is a perfect venue for her and will be released at an awesome convention getting her story directly into the hands of hundreds of people interested in just what her story is, Steampunk.

Her success has inspired me to renew my efforts in my personal writing and I hope it'll do the same for you. And hey, right now is a perfect time to push your writing talents since Nanowrimo starts next Monday.

If any of you have any news you want to share, anything good at all writing related or not, put it up in the comments and we'll raise a hoorah your way as well. :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To be or not to... What was the question?

Hey Folks. Just like most writers, I am always trying to learn more about the craft and improve my writing. As a part of that I've subscribed to several newsletters from different authors.

Today I got one from Larry Brooks that I think EVERY writer should read. It's probably the most concise stating of these simple principles that I've ran across. So please head over and check out "The Most Important Question(s) in Storytelling and the Ensuing Two Questions That Allow You to Answer" by Larry Brooks. And get on his mailing list too. He's a bit of a pompous, arrogant bugger at times, but the guy knows his stuff.

And another one more geared at science fiction and fantasy writers out there is David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants. Good stuff that only gets sent to your email.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Saturday Silly

Ok, so it's been a while since I put a good Saturday Silly up for you guys. Figured you may want a good chuckle. So this one comes from one of my favorite web comics, Looking For Group by Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza.

I seriously started laughing out loud at this one and kept at it for a good five minutes. It does what every speculative fiction writer wants to do. Takes something ordinary and mixes it with something extraordinary. In this case the lines are VERY well known so they count for ordinary. But the place and ending? Definately extraordinary.

So enjoy this page of Looking For Group. And if you like it, there is a deep archive with lots of laughs and beautiful artwork.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oooooo Shiny.

So had a few things happen lately I wanted to share with you all.

First off I had an experience today I wanted to share with you all. In the whole process of submitting stories and trying to get published,we run into a lot of people. I mean seriously tons! And in all those interactions how do we come across? I know a few writers, thankfully few, that are so sure that their stuff is the ultimate creation of written language that they get angry at editors who reject their stuff. So much so that one or two have even sent angry letters to the editors. I've even run into this a little since helping with the acquisitions at Abandoned Towers.


I'm serious if you ever get the urge to do that, write the rant in a document and then hit delete. It will only kill your chances of being published if you actually send it.

On the other hand if you are professional and courteous you can seriously stand out in the crowd. Take for example the something very small that happened to me today. I sent something to a fairly prominent magazine back in January. Hadn't heard anything from them since. So yesterday I wrote a little email, as politely and professionally as I could, asking what they thought of it or if they even received it.

Apparently the Internet gremlins struck again and they never got it. Oh well. No big, it happens in this electronic age of ours. The only real drawback is that this mag is temporarily closed to submissions. Bit of a let down there. But I sent a quick thank you note and figured that was that.

Then imagine my surprise when I checked my email and got a nice response back.

Some of you are probably asking so what? You sent emails, they never got it, and now you can't submit there for a good while. Where is the good little shiny bit in it?

Right here. That editor now knows me. Even if she forgets my name from now till the next time I can submit, when she sees my name now her mind will have a positive feeling about me. It's small. It's subtle. But I can now begin building on that and maybe, just maybe, it will help me crack that market.

Shiny little things my friends. We have to cling to them. Because not only do they give us hope in the rough patches, but they are the way to break into the market in a more permanent way.

The second bit has nothing whatsoever to do with the first. :-) (insert shameless plug) Abandoned Towers Magazine, of which yours truly is an editor, has a new website! Its beautiful! If you haven't already you should really drop by and check it out. Great stories, cool articles, and a background found by yours truly. How could you go wrong? ;-) And the new print issue came out this month. Its good. Seriously worth the money and you're getting all new stories not found online.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ready, Set, Write!

OK so it is REALLY late right now, about 3am local time, And I've been at the computer for the last five hours writing a story. Why you may ask?

Well the short answer is I'm insane. ;-)

The longer answer is I have a deadline to meet and I really want a shot at getting into this magazine.

So this got me to thinking why on earth is it so important that I submit to this magazine? It's not like they're gonna know that I didn't submit. They aren't waiting for MY particular story. Heck they probably don't know I exist yet. So why am I staying up so late?

I'm addicted. And I don't want any twelve step program to cure it. I am totally in love with the written word and the thought that someone out there just might like my words enough to share them with others and pay me for the privilege to do so. And beyond that I'm having a major Steampunk phase in my life and this particular magazine is perfectly positioned to reach that exact market. So if I can get in then people I want to know about me will find me.

If any of you have something steampunky or want to pull an all nighter to write one check out Fissure Magazine. They have an upcoming Steampunk issue open to submissions till July 30th.

And now i'd like to know if any of you have ever found yourself doing something like this. Have any of you pulled an all nighter for something you love? writing, painting, singing, whatever. Let me know. I can't wait to hear your stories. :-)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

X Marks the Spot

You know when I started out I didn't understand exactly what a treasure hunt looking for a market can be. In my naivety I thought it was simple, write a brilliant story or book, send it out to the publisher of your choice and viola! A published manuscript would appear. :-) Ha I say, HA!

Any number of things can keep your brilliant piece from being accepted at one place or another. Maybe the imagery is too intense for that particular magazine, perhaps the brilliant plot twist you had was similar to one recently acquired by the magazine, maybe the thing just doesn't tickle the fancy of that particular editor that day. Heck maybe it just really isn't a good fit for that one magazine or anthology. Anything is possible.

But don't give up! For heavens sakes don't give up. For all the reasons that your story may not be accepted the same amount of things can get your piece accepted. then sometimes you look and look and just cant seem to find a market that fits your story. Good News! there are ALWAYS new markets coming around.

Case in point. I've wanted to write a story for a while now about someone with the same religious background as me in a purely speculative fiction setting. I haven't done it. Why? Because frankly the places I've seen that take speculative fiction generally frown on having religion as a core point in it. And the places that take the Religious stuff don't take speculative fiction. I thought it was a waste of my time to write it.

Then last night, looking at markets for a totally different story of mine, I ran across an anthology taking subs for EXACTLY that! I AM SO EXCITED!! I can't wait for another few hours to pass so I can tell a friend of mine who I know has been looking for something similar.

So don't give up. If something you have isn't getting accepted, keep polishing and keep looking. It's just a matter of time till you find that right market and get that acceptance letter. And share those markets my friends. If you've been looking for them then someone else has too. and if you dont already have these websites book marked I highly recomend doing it. Duotrope and Ralan's make market research so much easier.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pass on the vinegar, PLEASE!

I've said before how you have to be several different people to be a writer. Sensitive, determined, and rhino hide all in one. There's one person though that you don't ever want to be, EVER! and that's the pissy negative one.

It's beneficial to be humble. It sure helps a lot when those rejection slips come in. But realizing you can improve your work and obsessing over the thought that it just isn't going to ever hack it are two TOTALLY different things. There are a lot of people writing out there. Thousands of folks scribble down ideas and send them into editors hoping to have those ideas ensconced in the immortal realm of published material. and you know what? Its true that there are people out there who never will be published. But if you're serious about wanting it, and willing to work hard and to learn, then you most likely will get published.

And when you're sending out your stuff, praying for it to join that ascended realm, remember that the world of publishers and editors is a small one. taking a pissy attitude of "my work is going to be published my way and I'll break any rules I want to!" will make it ten times more likely that you wont be published. Read the writers guidelines my friends. Then FOLLOW the guidelines!

I know it can be frustrating to trim your story or expand it or only send it to one publisher at a time. Heck no one ever accused me of being a patient person. :-) But like it or not editors have to allocate their time and they aren't just looking at your work or my work. They have lots of other writers too. Like the old saying goes You'll catch more flys with honey than vinegar. So pass on the vinegar, please?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hooray for Steampunk!

So you've probably heard me mention Steampunk before. I love it! its great fun and class and grit all rolled into one. But being an emerging concept I think I'd be remiss if I didn't try and put together my views on what Steampunk is.

Plus I cant very well have you all be my little Steampunk minions if you don't know what it is. ;-)

So if you go by the all knowing ever infallible Wiki, Steampunk is "a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, frequently featuring elements of fantasy, that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s."

Accurate, but dry. Steampunk to me is taking the simple complexity of steam and clockwork power and mixing it with the capabilities of our technology and even beyond. It's a genre of fiction, yes. I very much enjoy writing in this genre, in fact I'm developing a serial story concept based on a Steampunk time traveler. But boy is Steampunk more than that.

What started as some eccentric writings in the 80's has exploded into the world to take on not only literature, but art, music, fashion, and technology. One of my favorite bits about this Steampunk movement is the attitude of do it yourself. There are people out there who have made so many things Steampunk its crazy! a lot of it is pretty rough shod I'll grant you, but some of it is exquisite craftsmanship and imagination of the highest caliber.

So if you want to look at this a bit more here's a few links I really enjoy that you might find entertaining. Heck if nothing else it could inspire you to write a piece on those crazy nut jobs in top hats. ;-)

1. The Steampunk Workshop This is the place I first found the name for this style I've loved for decades.

2. Girl Genius This is a great web comic that is ALL Steampunk. Brass and gears and mad science all delivered with great art and humor. I check it out every day it updates.

3. Abney Park Holy cow, I can't tell you how much I enjoy this band! My two Favorites by them are Sleep Isabella and Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll. I listen to these guys incessantly lately as I'm writing.

4. Datamancer Another great tinkerer with an amazing knack for taking things modern and giving them an antique elegance and mystique.

5. Steampunk Emporium As soon as I get a few bucks to spare I am seriously buying a whole getup from here.

6. A Gentleman's Duel This has got to be the funniest thing I've seen Steampunk.

7. Steampunk Literature This is a list of books that fit in Steampunk. I haven't read most of them but the classics I definitely have and a few of the newer titles. Needless to say I'm working on adding my own work to this list. ;-)

8. Dr. Steel No Steampunk list would be complete without a mad scientist in the mix. His music is OK but I love his videos on YouTube.

Obviously this isn't a complete list of all things Steampunk. Heck, it's still such a fluid concept that one person's idea of Steampuink can be completely different from another person's.

So what's your take on it? Do you know Steampunk and have something to add? Whats your impression of it if you've just found it? Any other intriguing sub-cultures you know of? Speak up in the comments. :-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weird Yet Wonderful

I ran across this the other day and it just had to be shared. Its fun, interesting, and slightly disturbing all at once. Just as I think my writing should be.

So enjoy Brad W. Fosters's Corner of the Weird

If you know of something fun, odd, or eccentric please post it in comments! I love finding new gems of insanity. :-D

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lincoln, Lee, and ... Aliens?

Hello everybody!

So, History has always fascinated me. Normally I go for the medieval on back, but recently the Victorian era has caught my mind. And as always my brain wasnt happy to just see what happened. It had to twist it into all kinds of what if's. Hopefully some more published stories will be coming out of it.

Now what should be handed to me by my head editor the other day but something from somebody whose mind, apparently, did a similar twisting of history! A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor by Robert G. Pielke.

I cant wait to read this one. Check out it's book trailer, then you can read the first few pages of A New Birth of Freedom : The Visitor

I must apologize for my absence. Just as I was getting ready to start back up in earnest on here my computer decided to go through a major makeover. Thankfully it is limping along again and I plan on making this place live a little again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Well folks I always hoped this day would come. If you remember back in January I submitted a piece that elicited some nice comments from an editor. Well, lo and behold I got to chatting about the piece to that editor the other day and guess what?

She accepted it! YAY!!

That's right. Your looking at the newest member of the ranks of published authors! So now I'm getting an even better view of the life of a writer. I've had the struggling, learning the craft phase(that one never ends by the way ;-) ). I'm learning the Editors side of things working at Abandoned Towers. And now I get to play around in the legal-ese side of things with reading contracts and figuring out rights and all that.

Should be fun :-D.

So for those of you who are writing and maybe haven't been published yet, Take heart! If a no account guy, educated in small town Idaho like me can do it, you can too. :-) So write on and submit. I'm gonna go fill that second frame in my office with my first acceptance letter. :-D

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Hello everybody! :-) Sorry it was such a long break. With moving, divorce, and figuring out finances, life just kind of exploded on me. But now life is in a much more stable place for me and I can get back to writing. Yippee!

I tell you what,nothing makes you appreciate writing more than being unable to write for an extended period. So what has the last few months of insanity taught me about writing? A couple of things.

First off, though I wasn't able to write I was able to read a new series that got my creative juices flowing. Lesson learned, "Writing Time" for me has to be more than putting pen to paper. You have to continually refill that creative bucket with fun activities like reading and playing imaginative games.

Second the point was driven home that writing is like crack to me. I'm addicted. The world isn't as colorful and life just isn't as worthwhile for me if the voices aren't let out to play. :-D

And last but not least. No matter how crumby life seems, even if your world is being turned upside down, whatever doesn't kill you can make you a stronger writer. We thrive on experience don't we? What kind of sick masochistic people are we? :-) The fun kind.

I'm so happy to be back with you all and will be bringing this blog back up to speed asap. See you all around the Stane. ;-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I saw this the other day and just had to share it with you all. Hope you enjoy.

Beware the wolf in Publisher's clothing.

Every writer wants to be published. And almost all will be honest and say their dream is to be published by a big New York Publisher.

Don't lie to yourself. If you want to be published by the big boys, then most likely you're gonna have to do a LOT of hard work.

Check out this latest writer beware. I found it Under the Trolls bridge but the original post is here.

Also another bit of downer news. Given some major personal difficulties recently, I'm going to have to reduce how often I can post here. I will try to still post here occasionally but I can't say as to when or how often. I will be back just as soon as I can get my life back into some semblance of order.

Until then you can always check out Under the Troll's Bridge for some good stuff. And since Jean is a friend of mine she'll even let you know when I'm back full-time.

Thanks for your understanding in this. I hope to be back soon.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Medicine

With all the glamor and glitz its hard to tell a good bad guy anymore. Vampires are now diamond encrusted lovers, assassins are poor unfortunates who lose their memory, and pirates are silver-tongued confused souls who really are misunderstood. Really.

Now don't get me wrong I love these shows too. But sometimes its just nice to hearken back to the good old days when vampires burnt to ash in the sun, assassins were cold-hearted killers, and pirates were ne'er-do-well scallywags who thought of little more than the next bit of gold and drop of rum.

Enter Geoffery Armitage Ffolkes. Pirate, assassin, and scallywag extraordinaire.

Now granted so far I have only read the first few chapters, but I love this character. He's everything a pirate should be and the writing is a wonderfully smooth throwback to the 17th century.

Check it out and read the first few chapters for free.

Ffolkes' Medicine: The Adventures of Geoffery Armitage Ffolkes begin by B. R. Stateham

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Light in the Tunnel

"Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel / Was just a freight train coming your way"- Metallica

It's amazing how true those words can feel at times. In our lives we have good things happen, aka the light. And we have some pretty nasty bad things happen too. Betcha can't guess what that is. ;-)

So what do we as writers do about it? Do we suddenly abandon our humanity and take on the looks of a deer caught in that headlight? Do we scream and run at the thing in a final act of defiance? Or do we use that light to show us the way our and run like mad for the end of the tunnel?

Personally I'm in the survival group. What about you?

What about your characters?

If your writing is anything like mine then most of your stories put people in positions they never ever wanted to be in. How they react to this lets us know about them. But before our readers can get to know them we need to know them better than we know our own family. How do we do this?

I've tried a number of things. Some have worked really well for me others have failed miserably. For instance I know several writers who will take a ten page questionnaire full of details and fill it out. I can't do that. It bores me to tears. I discover my characters through action. whether I'm writing it out or just imagining it I have to put my characters in situations and watch them react. I'll imagine all sorts of things from their normal morning routine to how they act if they're hanging off a cliff with no one nearby to help.

but no matter how you do it you have to get to know them so they'll be believable. Otherwise the reader may just wish the freight train would catch up to them. :-)

What do you all do? How do you get to know your characters?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

That's Not Punny.

Well I have found out why they call what editors read through a slush pile.


It's amazing the stuff that comes through. Now a lot of it is actually half way decent. Maybe the author just needs help in one or two areas, or maybe its a good story but just doesn't fit the magazine. But holy crow every once in a while you get one that just makes you scratch your head or want to vomit.

Now I'm learning that as far as writing goes there are rules that aren't rules but fads, there are rules that are rules and can't be broken, and then there are rules that should only be broken if you realize your doing it and doing it WELL.

I read something today that tried to fall into that third category and failed miserably. Take note. Bad puns are not enough to carry a story. Especially if the majority are crass and vulgar with no more reason to be in the story than to say a pun. If it doesn't progress the story toss it out.

So what about you all? Have you ever read anything that was utter slush? Or can you think of something that would be a perfect slush story? If I get a bunch of good replies I'll pick the best and get you a real slushie as a prize. :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well hooray for our side.

Well you live long enough and sure enough something completey unexpected and wonderful will happen. I am happy to announce that yours truly has recently joined the ranks of the Abanoned Towers Magazine editorial team!

Thats right. I'm an editor now! and not at just any magazine but at a top 10 magazine. Holy freaking cow!

So that's the big news in my writing life. On a slightly different topic, I have had some major computer issues the last few days. I will still try and keep up with my regular posting schedule, but if I'm running late, Like today :-), you know what's up.

Oh and if you're looking for a good place to submit your story send it on over to Abandoned Towers. Every submission gets detailed feedback whether we accept or reject. So instead of those lovely form rejections that tell you nothing about what may be wrong with a piece, you actually can see why things happened.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pirate writers? Oh yeah!

Today I have a special guest post for you all. Some of you may recognize the author, it's Jean Lauzier from Under the Trolls Bridge. I love what she has to say here and hope you all enjoy.

10 Lessons for Writers from a Pirate.
1. Get a Parrot - For writers, the parrot is a mentor. Mentors can speed up your trip along the voyage to publication. They'll teach you things it would take years for you to learn on your own. And while the proper mentor may be hard to find...they will definitely be worth the work.

2. Consider the Eye Patch - Writers must see things differently than non-writers. We pay attention to what's going on around us and sometimes we write it down to use later. Things that seem normal or of no consequence to others trigger story ideas and excite the writer's soul.

3. Funky Pirate Wear & Eye Liner - Just as pirates don't conform, neither do writers. Our characters become our best friends and meeting a word count goal is cause for celebration.

4. Any Weather, Any Time - A pirate's ship and crew can handle any weather. So can writers. We take the good days with the bad or the acceptance letters right along with the rejection letters.

5. Live Die by the Team - For a pirate, his crew is family and very important. Well, writers need a "team" too. Not only do we need a supportive "home" team, we need critique partners and readers. We need editors and agents. Then we need promo people.

6. Tricorn hat - Don't you just love the tricorn hat? Writers will wear the many different hats of our characters. We become our characters, we learn their jobs to get the details right. A writer has a varied barrel of knowledge to draw upon...and if we don't know, we'll find someone who does or take a class to learn our self.

7. Peg Leg - The peg leg represents our limits. These may be lack of formal education or shoulder vultures. But we continue to strive toward our writing goals. We don't let self-doubt stand in our way.

8. Hook - Got to have a hook! Not only do we have to hook our readers, we have to hook the agents and editors. Here's where the team will come in handy...they'll help you polish that hook until it shines!

9. Treasure - For the writer, the Treasure is having others read our words and be touched by them. We'll do just about anything to get that treasure too. All day sessions at the computer, up half the night arguing with our characters about the plot lines... Nothing is too difficult as we make our way toward the treasure.

10. They just arrrrrrr! - Pirates don't have to be told they are pirates. They know they are. Same thing with writers. We just know we are meant to write. We have a passion that burns within us...a passion that insists we write. And so we do!

Inspired by:

Jean Lauzier writes mystery and fantasy for the most part though she plays in other genres just for fun. You can find her short stories at and though she'd been published at several other places that no longer exist. At the moment, she's working on her novel Dragons of Jade which will be released sometime this fall. She invites everyone to stop by her blog at

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Beware the Turtle!

As writers we generally tend to the introverted side of things. Or at least I do. I like to hide in my shell typing away and then peak out just long enough to submit.

I think that's why it's taken me so long to get as far as I have.

We need to be fearless in going after life. Experience new things and be surrounded by people we can observe and learn from. And then, when we have taken it all and crafted our stories with it, we have to go after the publishers and editors like mad.

Perfect example.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tink Happy Tots

I've been taking a few classes lately, to make my self more marketable, that I think everyone should take at some point. Especially if you're a writer.

Granted these classes are aimed at making yourself more marketable to the rat race. But They look at what can be changed in human behavior to bring about a desired result. As a writer you have two uses of that. What most writers think of first off is, of course, characters. And you're right. But even more so, the writer can benefit for themselves.

For instance the class I had today was about reworking your thought to a more positive fame. As writers we deal with a lot of emotions and a lot of bad things happening to good people. It's called conflict, our bread and butter. And if your not careful you can let all that conflict tear you down as a person. DON'T! Take a break if your working on some depressing scene and go do something goofy. Just be down right silly. I dare you to say 'rubber baby buggie bumpers' to the mirror with a mouth full of marshmallows and and not at least smile at the result.

And as for characters, they too can benefit from your understanding this. If you have a character who is looking at life through ash colored glasses, change just a few words of theirs and see the difference.

For instance. Our brains don't process the word don't on a basic level. In higher realms we understand the concept of refraining from something but not in our core thought process. If your character is saying "I don't care about the world." they are conflicting their brains and causing a kind of depression. Because at the basic level their brain hears "I care about the world." but their higher processes get conflicting info. You can show your characters progress by having them put more active phrases into play. So "I don't care about the world." becomes. "I care more about god than the world." Or something like that.

See how the second one causes movement in your thoughts where the first is static?

I'm going to be working more of this into both my writing and my life. Give it a try yourself and let me know how it works for you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Under the Bridge.

Hello everyone!

Well I guess I'm getting some attention because I was asked to do a guest blog. Check it out Under the Trolls Bridge.

Watch the gears in my head turn a simple Bic into a possible story.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Awww, Oh No! HA HA!!

OK I was going to save this for a saturday silly, but its just too funny to wait. I love it! Not only is it hilarious to me, but it works perfectly for what we want our stories to do.

First introduce you characters in a way so the readers care about them.

Second have something horrible happen to them.

And last but not least, make it worthwhile.

Check out the MOUSE.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Madness!

Ok I just found this place called It's freaky fun! Thought you might want to see what The Wulver's Stane looks like on an art kick. :-) I know I enjoyed it.

It's easier to eat the steak...

As a writer you have got to be a number of different people.

When you write you have to be sensitive to convey emotions. When you research you have to be inquisitive and find all those cruitial bits of detail that bring your story to life. When you submit you have to be patient and accept it takes time for an editor to get back to you. And when you get critiqued you have to be a thick-skinned rhino ready to take whatever the critiquer has to say.

This last bit is crucial. more crucial I think than any other piece of the puzzle. Like I've said in earlier posts, if you only want to write for your grandkids then your good, go write whatever dribbles out of your pen and they'll be thrilled. But if you want to get published then you have to get other peoples opinion.

"But Wolf," you say "isn’t that what submitting to editors is for?"

The answer is not only a no, but a HECK NO! Their job is to see if you offered something that will make their magazine money. End of story. Now some very few will offer tips on what was wrong and tell you to send something back. But by and large the best place to get help polishing your craft and producing things that editors will want to buy is a good circle of critiquers.

I recently had an experience with a new critique circle. It has a good mix or writers at different stages so they'll give you a wide variety of input. Just what you, or at least I, want. There was one particular writer who is newer and submitted a piece for review. I hope this guy keeps writing. He has a great love of his subject matter and can really turn a phrase when he wants to. But he hasn’t gotten that rhino hide yet. The piece he submitted had some major flaws and some good points. Unfortunately when all the reviews came in saying the same thing. He took it personally and stormed out.

This bugs me. If your gonna be a writer you gotta learn not only to spot the flaws yourself but also be able to admit when someone else points it out.

Now does this mean you have to listen to every piece of advice given from a critiquer? No! For heaven sakes it's your story you can do with it what you will. But if you are hearing the same problem mentioned over and over again you may just want to fix it. Because an editor is sure to notice the same thing.

This whole scenario prompted me to say one of the few things I've ever considered truly wise.

"It's easier to eat the steak, when you actually cut the bull."

Readers want steak. they want the words of your story that are gonna connect with them and make them think even after they put down your story. That lovely little tidbit about Aunt Martha’s broach, bull. The vivid description of ancient forests and cascading waterfalls that doesn’t move your story forward, bull. And the detailed account of the third generation of cheese makers who make the best cheese in the state when the story has to do with alfalfa pellets, BULL!

So let's cut the bull and give our readers what they really want. Steak.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Money? Yes please.

So I found something the other day I think any starting writer should do. its a free workshop starting February 1st on how to do a book video. Now it is on a romance blog, not my favorite genre, but they do have the most videos so it should be interesting. Check em out at Happy Endings Blog.

What is a book video you may ask? I hadn't seen them myself until recently but essentially they are for a novel what a movie trailer is for a movie. One that I think is great is on YouTube for Katie Macalisters novel Steamed

So why do I care about this and why should you if your a writer? Money. Pure and simple its all about the Benjamin's. I want to make money off of this eventually. So if that's the goal I better start learning now how to do my own marketing and promoting. This book video thing could cost hundreds of dollars as time goes on. So if I can do it myself not only do I not have to pay that out but i get more money coming in my way cause no one is going to look out for my interests better than me. :-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good News and Upcoming Good Stuff

In some earlier posts I talked about why I thought I'd get published and set myself the goal of submitting pretty much every week. That was 3 weeks ago.

That first story I sent out, a steampunk story, was rejected. Not because of writing craft but because they had some similar stories within the last year and didn't want to revisit similar territory so soon. But they did ask for me to send more to them. A good sign I think.

And yet, as any starting writer would be, I was a bit crestfallen and was tempted to let it sit for awhile in a drawer. Thank heaven for good friends and ego. My friend Jean told me in her trollish way to get over it and get it out. And even more motivating I figured I couldn't very well face you, my readers, if I couldn't take my own advice and shoot it right back out.

So I did. And guess what happened? It didn't get rejected! I heard back from the main editor that she liked the premise of my story and was sending it on to her editing team. No it was not outright accepted, not yet, but this is forward progress. I'll take it!

So Maybe in a while you'll see a post of me doing the happy dance with my first acceptance letter. Guess we'll see. Until then I'm getting back to writing, you should too. ;-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


“I’m telling you I saw it! Big as a house and with eyes as wide as saucers.” he said.

“Sure ya did Duffin. And I bet it sprouted angel’s wings and flew right up Jacob’s ladder.” Seamus shook his head and took a sip of Guinness.

Who would you believe? Why? More importantly why do you care? Our job as writers is to make people, not just characters. Anyone can make a character, just ask any Dungeons and Dragons group, so what makes a character into a “person?”

For me it’s opinions. You will never find two people who agree on everything completely. Even those who think in the same vein as us will disagree on something. So how do we put this into our writing? there’s a number of ways. One of the funnest ways for me to do it is an argument. Not necessarily a drop down drag out fight, though those can be fun ;-), but something as plain as what I have up top here.

We are never as firm in our opinions as when we are defending them.

It’s basic human nature, fight or flight. So if we have these opinions and reactions then our characters need to have them too. Give this a try. Take one of your stories and place two of the characters at odds with each other.

I think you’ll like the outcome. And let me know what comes of it. I love a good debate. Just ask my friends. :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Happy Birthday everyone! Today is the 201st birthday of the master of macabre and a hero of mine. Edgar Allan Poe!

Tragically I fear his toaster failed to honor the day for the first time in over six decades. So as a small bit of recompense I thought we'd celebrate here on The Wulver's Stane.

My favorite Poe story I'd have to say is "The Cask of Amontillado." Mainly because it was the first piece of Poe's that I read and it showed me a mind that appreciated the darker things I thought I alone comprehended. Yes I was in Junior High School when I discovered Poe. But I've grown to appreciate him even more as I've aged.

So whats your favorite? Leave a comment then grab a cognac and help me toast the memory of one of the greatest, most tragic men ever to live.

And if you haven't read Poe before check his work out online for free at The Literature Network.

To Poe!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Save the Gems

The other day I got a bit of bad news. I learned one of my favorite chats for writers was being canceled. I'll be honest, I am horribly and very selfishly upset about it. I have loved being able to pick the brain of a sustained writer and take those things into my writing.

Apparently though I'm one of the few who are more verbal about this and it got me thinking. Why would you not want to save something that works and is good? One of my associates took the stance that change should just be accepted for changes sake. that since progress can only happen through change then change must be good.

I heartily disagree. Granted progress can only happen through change, but it can only happen through good change. I doubt that anyone out there would say that the Holocaust was progress.

So what does all his have to do with writing? Well, the same can be said for any story or novel out there. One of the biggest problems that I as a beginning writer struggled with was editing. I looked at my story, looked at the word count, and I changed it. I took a chainsaw to the thing to get it to fit. It was not good change.

The key in any story is to keep the fantastic little bits, the gems, in there. Now not all cool bits are gems for that story. Sometimes you have to kill your babies and take them out of the story all together. But for heaven's sake DON'T THROW THEM AWAY! Put them in a file or notebook or something that you can look through later.

A lot of stories are either inspired or enriched in this way. I call mine the "Cool stuff to use at some point" file it's on my hard drive and it has helped several times. It's created progress, good change.

So don't just kill your babies but save your gems for a later setting. you never know when it just might bring about a treasure.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Parrot Talk

So today I decided to share some bits of wisdom I recently found by looking at other blogs. Both of these come from published authors, one of which I am happy to call friend, and I hope will give you something to chew on and inspire you. I know they did that for me.

So without further adieu I give you Jean Lauzier and Larry Brooks.

The first one is from Jean a post she calls "Chex Mix, Writing & Reading." check it out here at Her newest blog Under the Trolls Bridge. Check it out here @.

The second is from best seller Larry Brooks about discovering which ideas are really worth the time to write. He calls it "For Your Consideration: Questions at the Heart of Your Story Idea" Check it out here @

Both of these people have helped me tremendously in my writing and I hope they inspire you as they have me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Game Time!

So, you knew this was gonna happen sooner or later. Aside from being a writer I am also a gamer and I wanted to share my love of a classic I recently played.

If any of you are near your 30's or have kids in that range you probably remember back in the 80's when a little plumber came to your house and never left. MARIO! Yes I admit it I love that little Italian guy and definitely played my share of Super Mario Bros growing up. Luckily my dad was as much a kid as we were and played right along with us, my mom on the other hand I think still has nightmares with that distinctive synthesized theme song.

I think Any gamer will tell you that Mario was just about the most important little man in their life for a good portion of their childhood. I definitely can. But as the years went on Mario changed with the new consoles going from sewer stomping to go kart racing to flying around in a 3D world. And they were good games too but they just didn't have the nostalgia as the original side scroller.

Now after years of waiting Mario has hearkened back to his glory days of old and he has never looked better!

A friend and I recently sat down to the new Super Mario Bros WII and it's a blast! Its a simpler game just like the in the beginning with plenty of koopa baddies and mushrooms to squash. And now it has the power of letting up to four people play at once. I was ecstatic! The controls now have the ability to actually respond to your jerking the control around--come on admit it, you did it too--and the Wii Remote's motion sensor has been well integrated into puzzles and activities throughout the game. The graphics are classic and crisply rendered and there's just something satisfying about helping you friend get a goal one minute then picking him up and throwing him down a hole the next. It was an accident I swear... the first time. ;-)

So, If you can get your hands on a Wii, pick up this game. We old timers will get our nostalgia fix and you newcomers will get a taste of a great game. Pure and simple.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Good Stuff.

One of my favorite authors right now is Brandon Sanderson. If you don't know who that is I seriously suggest you go buy or borrow his book Mistborn. Its a great epic fantasy. He's also been chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series for the late Robert Jordan.

He's a hero of mine I guess you could say. Hes imaginative, creative, has the same religious background as me, and he's a bloody good writer! The other day I found something great on his website that I wanted to share with all you speculative fiction writers out there. He has teamed up with Dan Wells and Howard Tayler to do a podcast called Writing Excuses.

It's great! I've listened to quite a few different podcasts on writing and by far this is the best one I've found for speculative fiction. These guys know what they're talking about, they're from different genres of spec fic so you get different takes on everything, and they have fun!
Go check 'em out! They've inspired me on a number of things and given me different ideas on how to do things that I can't wait to use.

The site is and for even more fun they end each podcast with a writing prompt to get ya moving if your having a stall day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Staying the Road.

I'm going to wax a bit philisophical in this so bear with me.

It's recently been brought back to my attention how lonely the road of a writer can be. In many ways I'm sure that's why many of us seek it out. We're either tired of the world with its harshness and hypocrisy, or we find we can relate to people better if we create them and can understand why they do the crazy things they do. It's comforting.

But no man is an island, as the saying goes, and even those of us who have chosen this less traveled path find fellow travelers. Sometimes they're our editors who help us with polishing our words, sometimes they're kindred spirits dredging through words just like us, and sometimes they are even more than a kindred spirit and come to twine their lives with ours, our true friends and families.

So when one of those closest to us voice doubts about our writing what do we do? Should we simply stop because someone we value finds little or no value in what we do? We have to decide what writing means to us. Is writing for you a hobby done simply to pass the time or is it something deeper in you? Is it something that burns so deep in your soul that you will never be... can never be truely happy without it?

Ultimately the choice is up to you. But if you choose this road be prepared to stay it. Because there will be naysayers, there will be hecklers, and there will be traitors. At some point it will take everything you have to pick up that pen or pull out that keyboard and write.

I dont know where you'll chose to go, but I'll see you on the road.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Proof is in the Puddin'

OK folks here we go. The year has officially begun. Why you may ask? Did I not see the fireworks, hear the Newscasts and observe as the media as a whole pounced on the fact a new decade has begun?

Well of course I did. But now the year truly begins for me as a writer. I have just now, after hours of surfing different resource sites on the web, Submitted my first story of the year. HUZZAH!

The last few days I have been scribbling like mad on several new stories working on fleshing them out to a writable state. But I got tired of waiting! I want to see those words in print! So taking a deep breath I scoured the bottom of my hard drive and pulled out an old story that once got a kind rejection slip, actually looked at the story with fresh eyes and saw what the editor was talking about! The story is good but needed a little loving craft work.

So after a couple hours reworking and doing everything I can, it's done. Or at least as done as I can get it with my current skills. So off it goes to another pair of scrutinizing eyes to see if its good enough for their magazine.

Here's hoping. I'll know in the next 4-8 weeks whether this baby has a new home --and I have a nice check-- or if it got me another rejection slip and one step closer to getting it in print. And from now on I'm gonna do my darnedest to either submit one story or finish one rough draft every week!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


As a writer I am very interested in what the new and upcoming forms of publishing and reading media will be. Unfortunately the days of leather bound novels, gilt in gold, lining every shelf are long gone. The days of hardcover books are dwindling and even the paperbacks days seem numbered. With more and more people gaining access to the Internet and getting comfortable with it more and more books and magazines are going to electronic media.

So what has come from this? apparently the “Slates.” What most of us may have heard of as tablet PCs seem to be changing name to the slate PC. Microsoft just unveiled several to less than rave reviews but I kind of like the name. It brings to mind Tom Sawyer school room antics for me. But is it really where we want things to go?

Frankly, I’m torn.

On the one hand we as a society are getting so caught up in electronics and the ease they bring us that we are, as a whole, forgetting simple things that we need. Like exercise and outdoor activities. I heard recently that more Americans are near sited now than ever. In fact its gone from twenty-five percent in the 70’s to over forty percent now. Combine that with the ever rising obesity and diabetes and It scares me. We’re killing ourselves. That’s the one hand.

On the other hand as a writer It excites me. A lot. With more and more people getting access to these easy read devices it means more people are going to be publishing in that format. That’s cheaper for the publisher, hence more publishers, hence more chances I’ll find a good fit for my novel. And since there’s less money being spent on things like paper and glue and ink by the publisher, they can sell it cheaper and it still brings more money my way. A writers dream, or at least this writers dream. ;-)

So where will we go? will we do the self preservation thing and someone set off an EMP that destroys all electronics or will we go for the money and leave the trash for the next kid to deal with? Personally, I’m already near sighted and I need the money, but I think I’m gonna go for a walk outside.

What do you think?

Oh no, not the numbers game!

Alright so if you didn’t gather from my first post I am a writer of speculative fiction. Mainly I stick in SciFi and Fantasy--what I like to call Fanta-Sci-- but I do meddle in a little horror too. Right now I haven’t been published…Yet.

And that right there is one of the reasons I know I will eventually be published. A lot of things go into it. Anybody can write. And if your writing purely for your own enjoyment or to hand down stories to your kids in a dusty shoebox one day, GREAT! Your done. Write away as you are now and your good. But if your looking to actually get your words out in front of people then more than likely you have some work to do. First you’ve got to learn about the bones of the story, then how to fit all those pieces together with words, and then you have to edit it all so the ‘T’s are crossed and the ‘I’s are dotted and all that lovely punctuation is in its proper place. Fine any decent writing course or school will get you those eventually.

But then there’s the thing that turns a writer into an author. Sending it out. It scares the living bajeebus out of you. Or at least it does me. You wrap up your nice new baby and send it out to the dark mysterious land of editors. Congratulations you’ve just sent out your first story.

Then, after a few weeks or months, in comes a familiar beige envelope with their response. And guess what. It’s more than likely gonna say something akin to a soda pop cap. Sorry, Please play again. YAY! Now you’re an experienced writer. And you can do one of two things with your baby here. Either put it safely back in its drawer-- where no more unkind eyes will ever dare defile its splendor-- or you can get real, get serious, and get it back out there in the numbers game.

Believe me I hate to say that. I’ve developed a true hate for the numbers game as a whole, thanks in no small part to playing the numbers game door to door lugging a two ton vacuum cleaner along for the ride. But a cad’s a cad and if you want to be published you gotta play the game. Right now I have 3 frames in my office. One is full. It has my first rejection slip. The next will soon be filled with my first acceptance letter and a photocopy of a, hopefully large, very cashed check. And once that’s filled the last will hold my latest acceptance letter of many to come in my career. Hopefully they both get filled this year. I can't really control that. But what I can control is the fact that I’m going to be annoying editors as much as I can this year with as many good stories as I can pump out.

I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What’s a Wulver Anyway?

Okay. So I know that most of you, well probably all of you, who come here are going to ask this eventually if not right off. So what IS a wulver and why did he name his blog after it?

Well last things first. Why did I name this place The Wulver’s Stane? Frankly, because I think its cool. With a name like Wolf it’s hard to find a good interesting name that either isn’t taken or doesn’t conjure up images of Native American mysticism. Not that those are bad, I actually like Native American folklore, but I digress. I wanted something that would encompass my love of Fantasy, mythological creatures, and pondering and have a bit of an edge to it also.

Several friends of mine tried to help with ideas but they didn’t work for one reason or another. And so donning my fedora and bullwhip --aka mouse, the fedora is real enough though-- I set out into the steamy depths of the internet to find something fitting. Luckily the internet gods were kind and I found this rather quickly. And when I found it, it just clicked. It was exactly what I wanted.

So onto the first thing. What the heck is it anyway? A Wulver is a scottish werewolf for lack of a better term. It doesn’t change form but it is a wolf-headed man covered in short brown hair. But beyond that a Wulver isn’t aggressive. You leave him alone and he’ll leave you alone, or if you happen to be lost he may help you find where your going. But if your really lucky, and in need of a meal, he may just bring you some fish he caught while standing on his favorite fishing rock, known in Scotland as The Wulver’s Stane.

If you want to see more about this the most referenced place to look is in Jessie M. E. Saxby’s book Shetland Traditional Lore, But that hasn’t been in print for decades so another place to get the info is right here on blogger/blogspot check out and look for the July 1st, 2009 post.
cryptozoo-oscity: Wulver: werewolf or man?

And it's an interesting place to hang out if, like me, you like the things that go bump in the night.

Let the madness commence!

Welcome one and all to , what I hope will be, a fun and educational little place to park your mouse.

As a matter of forewarning I am crazy! Not so much the bouncing-off-the-walls mad chuckling sort of crazy as much as a Willie Wonka distorted-view-of-the-world sort of crazy. But don't rule out the occasional mad chuckle. :mwa ha ha::

Mainly I'm going to bring you the best I can about writing speculative fiction and the market and culture surrounding it. But like I said I am crazy and easily distract... oh shiny thing.

So be prepared because I'm liable to go from something on writing and story craft one day to jabbering about the latest drop dead gorgeous video game the next with a bit of rambling about kids and family life thrown in for good measure.

So come along and be careful of the gremlins. They do love to mangle words so.